Ellis Starr's Blog - AmWager

  • 04
    JAN

    Key Races & Bets for Saturday, January 5

    Ginger Brew Stakes - Race 5 at Gulfstream Park - Post Time 2:05 PM Eastern

    What a Beaut won her only start, four weeks ago at this identical 7 1/2 furlong trip on turf. All eight (who are entered for turf) are newly turned three year old fillies and she opens high at 12/1 because she is the most lightly raced in the field, but that doesn't mean she can't win because she showed a lot of maturity when establishing good early position in third early, five lengths off the leader, and getting up to win by a neck in a field of 12. Lopez rides back and vast improvement is possible off the experience of a race. The 90 Equibase figure earned in her debut is the same as favorite Pivottina earned in her U.S. debut last September and not that far from the 96 earned when third in the Jimmy Durante Stakes in her most recent start, which provides more reasons to believe What a Beaut can win this year's Ginger Brew Stakes.

    Beechwood Ella is the other main contender for betting purposes, making her U.S. debut and third career start. She imported from Europe in November and has put in six local works for Biancone. She gets blinkers and Lasix and Biancone has won with an import in a similar spot, using Maragh as he's doing here as well. She earned the equivalent of a 92 Equibase figure in her 2nd start so fits on all counts.

    Pivottina, Boxwood and Fortunate Girl all can contend but none is a standout by any means.

    Bets: What Beaut and Beachwood Ella to win at odds of 7 to 2 or more. Add a place bet on What a Beaut if 5 to 1 or higher.

    When making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

    Exactas:

    What a Beaut and Beachwood Ella over What a Beaut, Beachwood Ella, Pivottina, Boxwood and Fortunate Girl.

    Play the reverse of that exacta as well, which is What a Beaut, Beachwood Ella, Pivottina, Boxwood and Fortunate Girl over What a Beaut and Beachwood Ella.

    $0.50 Pick 3: What a Beaut and Beachwood Ella in race 5 with ALL in race 6 with Fancy Dress Party in race 7.

    Glitter Woman Stakes – Race7 at Gulfstream Park - Post Time 3:08 PM Eastern

    Fancy Dress Party is a standout in this restricted stakes race, having won impressively in her debut last fall at Keeneland when rallying from seventh of 10 and drawing away powerfully, then proving that to be no fluke when drawing off to a two and one-quarter length win near the end of November at Churchill Downs in a field of 10. She's been working at Tampa and I imagine trainer Colebrook sees this spot as no more difficult than the second allowance level the filly is eligible for so ships her to Gulfstream and gets red hot Saez to ride. The logical choice for the runner-up spot is Brunette Princess, who has never been worse than second in three races and who gets John Velazquez to ride.

    Bets: Fancy Dress Party to win at odds of 8 to 5 or more.

    Exacta: Fancy Dress Party over Brunette Princes, also BOX Fancy Dress Party and Brunette Princess.

    $0.50 Pick 3: Fancy Dress Party in race 7 with ALL in race 8 with Moon Colony and Bourbon in May in race 9.

    $0.50 Pick 3: Fancy Dress Party in race 7 with ALL in race 8 with Royal Urn, Moon Colony, Bourbon in May, Dakota's Dude and Henley's Joy in race 9.

    Kitten's Joy Stakes - Race 9 at Gulfstream Park - Post Time 4:10 PM Eastern

    Bourbon in May opens at 10/1 and although that morning line won't hold up because Pletcher trains and leading jockey Saez rides, she will still be underbet relative to her probability to win. Bourbon In May debuted at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf last fall at Keeneland and finished well for second in a field of 10, then improve nicely to win by a pair of lengths in a field of 12 over this course on 12/1, at this 7 1/2 furlong turf trip. Saez was up then as now and the colt is bred to be something special so should continue to improve. The reason his odds will likely remain higher than they should is Henley's Joy opens at 3 to 5. That's just a bad morning line because when winning the Pulpit Stakes over the track on 12/8, Henley's Joy went to post at 6 to 5 and earned a 93 figure, no better than the 93 figure Bourbon in May earned in his debut, that figure tied for the best figure earned by any horse in the field.

    Moon Colony has won his last two turf routes, in October and at the end of November. He ran poorly on dirt in between the wins but that effort is irrelevant. Jose Ortiz rides and the maiden win earned a 92 figure nearly on par with the best figures Bourbon in May and Henley's Joy so Moon Colony, who opens at 8/1,deserves a lot of respect when considering which horses we want to bet to win in this race.

    I wouldn't talk anyone out of ANY other horse in the field given the fact if Henley's Joy goes to post as the prohibitive favorite there could be excellent value on many others.

    Bets: Bourbon in May and Moon Colony to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more. Consider place bets on either or both if their odds are 5 to 1 or more near post time.

    When making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

    Exacta: Bourbon in May and Moon Colony over ALL.

    Sham Stakes - Race 9 at Santa Anita - Post Time 7:04 Eastern / 4:04 Pacific

    Sueno can post the upset in this race based on the way he took to two-turns last month when winning the Gold Rush Stakes. Having been away from the races for three months, Sueno maturely rallied from fifth to draw off late and earn a career-best 95 Equibase Speed Figure. Although the Gold Rush was run on all-weather, Sueno proved capable on dirt prior to that with a four and three-quarter length win in a field of 10. Kent Desormeaux gets the mount for the first time on Sueno and that's a very positive angle according to STATS Race Lens. In the past five years, horse trained by Keith Desormeaux which get a jockey change to Kent Desormeaux have won 25% of the time on 72 races and betting those 72 horses to win has returned a healthy 25% profit. The dam has produced four other horses besides Sueno, and all four are dirt route winners, which provide more reasons to suggest Sueno can improve nicely off his first route win last time out and post the upset in this year's Sham Stakes.

    Gunmetal Gray won his two-turn debut in August by nearly seven lengths. He followed up that effort with a career-best 100 figure earned when second to four and one-half length winner Game Winner in the American Pharoah Stakes in September. Like Game Winner, Gunmetal Gray returned five weeks later to run in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile but he did not run as well, finishing fifth after being as far back as 12th in the 13 horse field. Rested two months in preparation for his three year old campaign, Gunmetal Gray gets the services of Mike Smith and has stakes experience three others in the field lack, including likely favorite Coliseum. As such, if Gunmetal Gray can logically improve off his American Pharoah effort as a much more physically mature three year old, he can run well enough to win this race.

    Gray Magician broke his maiden impressively in his most recent race, by nine and one-half lengths, but facing stakes competition could be a whole different matter. However, Gray Magician earned a 98 figure while winning at this mile trip and following two months off so improvement is possible. Gray Magician has excellent breeding for the trip as well, as his half-brother Lombo won the 2018 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (in February) at Santa Anita. Grey Magician also showed a lot of maturity in his most recent race as he rallied from third, five lengths back, to win by nearly 10 lengths.

    I feel I must mention Coliseum as he may be the betting favorite based on his easy six and three-quarter length win in his only race, in which he led from nearly start to finish and earned a field high104 figure. That style may be problematic in the Sham as Savagery puts blinkers back on and will likely be sent to the front from the start. However, Coliseum does have history on his side because his trainer, Bob Baffert, has won 33% of the time (14 for 42) when starting a horse off a debut maiden win in a stakes race over the last five years, including Midnight Hawk in this race back in 2014.

    Bets: Sueno to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more, adding a place bet at 5 to 1 or more.

    Exacta: Sueno over ALL, and the reverse, which is ALL over Sueno.

    Exacta: Gray Magician and Gunmetal Gray over Sueno, Gray Magician, Savagery, Easy Shot and Much Better. (Leaving Coliseum off the runner-up spot because it will be a low paying exacta). 

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  • 28
    DEC

    Key Races & Bets for Saturday, December 29

    Thirty Eight Go Go Stakes – Race 7 at Laurel - Post Time 3 PM Eastern

    Forever Liesl shows up nearly every time, this year off the board just once in seven races. She ships in from New York for Nevin and the last time she came to Maryland she won, in August, at this one turn mile trip here at Laurel. Carrasco rode her then as well as to a six length win two starts later in September and the filly wasn't disgraced a bit when second to a six length winner in the Grade 3 Turnback the Alarm Handicap, herself six clear of the next horse. Carrasco rode Lady Vicky to a win three weeks ago over the track and chooses this filly which is another sign for a big effort. With the favorite, Sower, a contender but not a standout, but opening at 2/1 and likely going to post at those odds or lower, we may get around the 5/1 morning line on this gal and that would make her a good bet.

     

    Lake Ponchatrain may be underbet as well, opening at 6/1, as she ships in from Mahoning Valley. She ran 2nd in a similar stakes at Laurel in July and was 5 to 2 that day and she won her last start nicely. Like Forever Liesl, Lake Ponchatrain shows up nearly every time, evidenced by 11 first or second place finishes in 13 races this year. Rosado rode her beautifully the last three times he was in the saddle, winning twice and missing a nose in the other race.

     

    Sower is 4 for 8 in her career and ships in from Belmont for Rice, who does very well with shippers to Maryland, particularly with Karamanos aboard as here. The jockey rode the filly to her first two wins this spring in Maryland, before she went to New York and won a stakes. She may not be as good now as then as she's only 1 for 5 since and her mediocre effort earlier this month when third in a non-graded stakes similar to this one would see her beaten here if repeated, so she's going to need to run the race she ran before that but that was in the mud and she's going to need to prove she can win at a mile as she's trying the distance for the first time, whereas Forever Liesl has won at the trip. I'm defensively using her but mostly trying to beat her.

     

    Bets: Forever Liesl to win at odds of 5 to 2 or higher, AND Lake Ponchatrain at odds of 5 to 2 or higher.

     

    When making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool with which you can enter the amount you want to spend or the amount you want to win and the calculation of how much to bet will be done for you. Amwager provides a free "Dutching" tool, among other great benefits for the handicapper and bettor.

     

    Exactas:

    Forever Liesl and Lake Ponchatrain over ALL.

    Box Forever Liesl, Lake Ponchatrain and Sower.

     

    Doubles: Forever Liesl, Lake Ponchatrain and Sower in race 7 with Cautious Giant, Midtowncharlybrown, Laki and Colonel Sharp in Race 8.

    Dave's Friend Stakes – Race 8 at Laurel - Post Time 3:30 PM Eastern

    Colonel Sharp is 4-for-8 this year and in my mind has won two in a row. He won his most recent race, at Laurel on 11/16 and he won on 9/1 at Timonium. Before the last win he ran on turf and before that he was overmatched badly in the DeFrancis Stakes. The 9/1 race was a stakes like this one and last out he beat a classified allowance field easily. He can win on the lead or from off the pace and Acosta, who was up for both recent wins, rides back. The cut back from seven furlongs to six doesn't hurt and he's earned four of his seven career wins at the basic six furlong trip as well. Opening at 5 to 1, he could definitely be a great bet.

    Midtowncharlybrown just posted the 10/1 upset in the $200K Fabulous Strike Stakes at the trip, beating a solid group of sprinters. He won back to back last fall and is 8 for 16 in his career. Like Colonel Sharp, Midtowncharlybrown has the capacity to win on the lead or from off the pace. I think morning line second choice Altissimo is vulnerable because even though he's 13 for 32 the wins have been earned in Ohio versus Ohio Breds and his trainer is just 3 for 38 with shippers the past two years, none in Maryland. With a potentially overbet second choice in the race, Midtowncharlybrown, who opens at 9/2, gives us a decent return for the risk with a horse who has every right to earn his 9th career win.

    Cautious Giant is a must use on any exacta tickets because he's been first or second in 13 of 19 races this year and last. He ships in from Gulfstream where he won at 75K stakes one before last so he fits, while Laki is another must use off his win three weeks ago over the track. However, that win came in a stakes for Maryland breds only and his other two wins this year came when moved up to first via a disqualification and in an allowance race.  We'll throw in a nice longshot for 2nd in Team Tim, who opens at 20/1. He's not much for winning but he puts in a late kick to pass many horses a lot.

    Bets: Colonel Sharp and Midtowncharlybrown to win at 5 to 2 or higher. Consider a win bet, for a lesser amount, on Cautious Giant at 3 to 1 or more.

    Always try to use a "Dutching" tool when making multiple win bets as it provides help with maximizing profit. Amwager offers you one for free along with many other perks.

    Exacta: Colonel Sharp, Midtowncharlybrown, Cautious Giant and Laki over Colonel Sharp, Midtowncharlybrown, Cautious Giant, Laki and Team Tim.

    Alex M. Robb Stakes – Race 8 at Aqueduct - Post Time 3:47 PM Eastern

    I usually forego statebred stakes, unless there's value to be had, and I think Winston's Chance offers superb value in this race, opening at 8/1. Favorites Mr. Buff (2/1 morning line) and Control Group (9/5 morning line) are just two of FOUR horses who appear incapable of rating off the pace as all I see are "1s" in their pp lines in the early stages. Mr. Buff draws the two hole and will go, but Black Tide will have to go from his outside post and Control Group just doesn't have anything but a need-the-lead style as well. Hit It Once More has shown speed on occasion and considering his trainer (Sciacca) also has deep closer Testosterone in the race, the early pace, no matter how slow, should be hotly contested. Winston's Chance rallied from fifth to win a sprint for NY breds only (like this one) in October and finished second to nine length winner Gold for The King (a very good horse) last out at seven furlongs over the track. He won his ONLY nine furlong race, in the summer of 2017 at Saratoga, and the stretchout from seven to nine furlongs is a pattern I really like, therefore I expect Winston's Chance to be gaining with every stride in the stretch and post the mild upset.

    I'll also consider a win bet on Testosterone, who finished well from seventh of 11 last out to win at a mile and who is likely to benefit from the pace, as well as has won at this distance and has earned nearly half a million dollars so he's no slouch but just was off form for a long time before his win 13 days ago. He opens at 20/1, which makes him hard to ignore.

    Bets: Winston's Chance to win at 2 to 1 or more, adding a place bet at 3 to 1 or higher, a true KEY BET on the day.

    Make a smaller win and place bet on Testosterone at 5 to 1 or higher.

    Robert J. Frankel Stakes - Race 4 at Santa Anita - Post Time 4:34 PM Eastern (1:34 Pacific)

    Excellent Sunset should be a low odds overlay, opening at 7/2, with every right to win this Grade 3 race just as she won the non-graded Crosby Stakes last month at Del Mar. Although overmatched off that win in the Grade 1 Matriarch, she managed to rally nicely from 13th to be beaten four lengths at the end. She's run very well in all four U.S. starts after importing from England in July, winning two and missing by a neck in the other. She gets a good post to sit in second early off the speedy Fahan Mura and can return to winning form in this situation.

     

    Fahan Mura, as usual, is the one to catch as she likes to lead from the start. She too was overmatched in the Matriarch and faded to 12th of 13 BUT she was 2nd in the tougher G2 Goldikova Stakes one month earlier, here at SA, and won the Swingtime Stakes which was the same level as the Crosby so she has the same probability to win as Excellent Sunset here and would be no surprise.

     

    Amboseli shipped from Cassidy's home base at SA in October to run in a pair of races in Kentucky, the first a 5th of 9 finish but the 2nd much better when rallying from 10th to 2nd to miss by a half-length at this 9 furlong trip. That was just about the best race of her career and she could run as well BUT she really doesn't like to win, evidenced by a 2-4-8 career record, so although she must be used on exacta and pick 3 tickets we must get decent odds before betting her to win. Escape Clause has won 9 of 12 this year, all on dirt except her last two on turf. She was moved up to 1st in the Crosby after Excellent Sunset was disqualified and the was beaten a pair of half-lengths in the G3 Red Carpet Stakes last month at the longer distance of 11 furlongs. Cutting back to 9 furlongs she could be rallying strongly once again and be in the thick of the action on the wire.

     

    Bets: Excellent Sunset to win at odds of 2 to 1 or more.

    Consider a second win bet, for a smaller amount, on Amboseli at 4 to 1 or more.

     

    Trifecta: With three of the four contenders also being the lowest odds on the morning line, I prefer playing the trifecta over playing the exacta, as follows (two tickets):

    Excellent Sunset over Escape Clause, Fahan Mura and Amboseli over Escape Clause, Fahan Mura and Amboseli.

     

    Fahan Mura and Amboseli over Excellent Sunset over Escape Clause, Fahan Mura and Amboseli.

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  • 23
    DEC

    Key Races & Bets for Wednesday, December 26

    La Brea Stakes - Race 6 at Santa Anita - Post Time 5 PM Eastern/ 2 PM Pacific

    Spiced Perfection gets slight preference among a quartet of fillies which can win, with a great outside post to avoid any potential traffic trouble early and coming off a CAREER BEST effort at this 7 furlong trip in the Betty Grable Stakes last month. Although that was a statebred race, the 111 Equibase figure earned lines up favorably here compared to likely favorite Dream Tree, who earned a 106 winning the Grade 2 Prioress Stakes in her most recent start. Since adding blinkers, Spiced Perfection is 2-for-2 in dirt sprints and Prat, who rode her to victory last month when aboard for the first time, ride back. That last race has already become a KEY RACE as both the runner-up and third finishers came back to win and as a filly who has been ultra-consistent in her career, evidenced by a 5-4-1 record in 11 dirt races, Spiced Perfection could help us profit nicely in the race.

     

    Mo See Call is another "NOW" horse, having won three in row, two in a row since moving from turf to dirt. She may not have beaten much in her two recent allowance wins by earned 103 and 111 figures, the most recent with Smith aboard, who rides back. Smith rode Dream Tree to victory in the Prioress when she traveled to New York and although Van Dyke has become Baffert's #1 rider of late it still is intriguing Smith and his agent take this mount. With three wins and a narrow defeat since adding blinkers in August and in the best form of her life, Mo See Cal is as strong a win contender as Spiced Perfection in my opinion.

     

    Happy Like a Fool has one knock and that's the rail as she has good early speed but she's shown the ability to sit as far back as third early and still run big so she could be okay. She comes in off a sharp win with a 105 figure and won the Miss Preakness Stakes in May with a 111 figure. Trainer Ward shipped her in to train over the track over a month ago, a big sign he's been pointing her to this race and wants her ready on all counts. Ward is just so good at this level (32% wins on over 150 dirt sprints in the last year) we must respect this filly's chances to earn her 5th career win.

     

    Dream Tree is going to be used defensively as she's likely to be the prohibitive favorite but I can't discount her as a win contender. She's undefeated in five start including three graded stakes and she won her only start at the trip.  She does have question marks as she was off from February to September then off until now, so she must have some issues. On the other hand she put in a stellar five furlong work on 12/9 followed by a pair of maintenance works and Baffert continues to win at a solid 25% clip with horses off layoffs, whether 2 to 6 months or 6 months or more.

    Bets: Spiced Perfection and Mo See Cal to win at 5 to 2 or more. (Add a place bet if 5 to 1 or higher).

    Minimum odds on Happy Like a Fool are 7 to 2.

     

    When making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

    Exactas:

    1. Spiced Perfection and Mo See Cal

    2. Box Spiced Perfection, Mo See Cal, Happy Like a Fool and Dream Tree.

    Doubles and Pick 3's: Use ALL four horses.

    Mathis Brothers Mile Stakes – Race7 at Santa Anita - Post Time 5:30 PM Eastern/ 2:30 Pacific

    Shivermetimbers finds a field lacking in proven milers on grass and can win this race in his turf debut, particularly if likely favorite River Boyne doesn't cut back successfully from 9 furlongs to 8 furlongs. Shivermetimbers is bred to handle grass just fine as Shanghai Bobby has sired a number of turf winners and he has the right style to take advantage of what should be a very hot early pace. Snazzy Dresser, an absolute need-the-lead types, gets the extreme outside post and has to go fast to get to the rail, but Gemonteer and possibly Gidu will also be on or near the font early. Shivermetimbers rallied from 4th in his last two wins, BOTH under Smith, who rides back and who was also up for the colt's other win. His last two efforts yielded 113 and 114 Equibase figures which match up nicely with the 115 likely favorite River Boyne earned in the Twilight Derby so Shivermetimbers has every much of a chance to win as the favorite but will go to post at better odds.

     

    River Boyne has no real knocks as he shows up every time. After making the lead by a length and one-half in the Hollywood Derby on 12/1, he was beaten near the wire by Raging Bull but was nearly three lengths clear of the next horse. He hasn't run a mile in nine months but won the non-graded Pasadena Stakes the last time he did and in terms of turf and stakes experience he is the one to beat.

     

    Choo Choo forms an uncoupled Hollendorfer entry with Shivermetimbers and has a slight chance to win but a big chance to be in the exacta or trifecta. His two wins to date have come on turf and all-weather and his most recent effort when second and beaten under a length in the restricted Let It Ride Stakes last month earned him a career best 112 figure. That was his first start after six months off, second since adding blinkers, and better can be expected here particularly as Rosario fits his late running style nicely.

    Bets: Shivermetimbers to win at odds of 2 to 1 or more.

    "IF" Choo Choo should go to post anywhere near 7 to 2 or higher, make a smaller win bet on him as well.

    Exactas:

    1.Shivermetimbers and River Boyne

    2. Box Shivermetimbers, River Boyne and Choo Choo.

    3. Shivermetimbers, River Boyne and Choo ChooShivermetimbers, River Boyne, Choo Choo, Sejo, Gidu, Desert Stone, Gemonteer and Snazzy Dancer.

    Doubles and Pick 3's: Use Shivermetimbers, River Boyne and Choo Choo.

    San Antonio Stakes - Race 8 at Santa Anita - Post Time 6 PM Eastern/ 3 Pacific

    Beach View has a decent upset shot here and gets slight preference in a race where four horses (of 9) have almost all the probability to win in my opinion. Of his 11 career starts, 8 were on turf and of the other three, only two were routes. However, both those efforts were exceptional. Both were at 12 furlongs but he's run well at a mile on turf so I'm not concerned about his ability to handle the trip. He returned from four months off last month and rallied decently enough for 3rd in the G2 Hollywood Turf Cup at 12 furlongs. He might have run even better but was blocked during a critical portion of the stretch run. Even though that trouble may be enough to back him here, it's his effort prior to that which, if repeated, could help him earn the upset as when winning the G3 Cougar II Handicap by five lengths in dominating fashion he not only earned a career best tying 112 figure which isn't far from the best in the field, he beat multi-millionaire Hoppertunity with ease. Bejarano was up for both efforts, the only two times he's ridden the horse, and rides back, which provides me with enough reasons to take a big swing with Beach View.

    Gift Box is very interesting here as he shipped west sometime in the past few months after being privately purchased (from Farish, with Chad Brown as his trainer) by Hronis racing and sent to the Sadler barn. Considering Sadler's success with dirt stakes stars the past year, this five year old could turn into something special. Even though it took him six tries to move through the 2nd allowance level, he was very competitive, missing twice by inches before an eight length win in March with a career best 114 figure. The only knock is coming back from 9 months off around two turns and in a graded stakes BUT the works are excellent, Rosario rides, and if Sadler is confident I won't argue.

    Battle of Midway and Dabster are likely to be the two favorite and both are logical contenders, but not standouts. Battle of Midway has yet to run as well as when winning the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile in the fall of 2017 but got close in his last two efforts, particularly his win in the G3 Native Diver at this trip last month with a 117 figure. Dabster was neck shy of his foe in the race, BUT we must note it was essentially a match race, a three horse field in which the other horse was never involved.

    Bets: Beach View to win at odds of 5/2 or more, adding a place bet at 5 to 1 or higher.

    For a slightly smaller amount, Gift Box to win at 3 to 1 or more, adding a place bet at 5 to 1 or higher.

    Exacta and Trifecta: Box Beach View, Gift Box, Battle of Midway and Dabster.

    Doubles: Use all four horses.

    Malibu Stakes - Race 9 at Santa Anita - Post Time 6:30 PM Eastern/ 3:30 Pacific

    Bobby's Wicked One ships in from Louisiana by way of Ohio, having just missed by a nose in a $250K sprint for three year olds. It was his second start after coming back from six month off and he's on a pattern for an even better effort here. Based on the barn of top trainer Al Stall, the well bred colt is bred to handle 7 furlongs just fine although to date he has a runner-up and third place finish at the trip and the previously mentioned pattern off 101 and 109 Equibase figures, with a great post and a lot of early pace to stalk, Bobby's Wicked One could post the upset in this year's Malibu.

    Copper Bullet was thought to be a Derby prospect last summer (2017) after winning the Saratoga Special but had issues which kept him on the shelf for 15 months. He returned last month at Churchill Downs as if he had never been away, winning easily by 3 1/2 lengths in a new career best effort (110 figure) and has every right to take a big step forward 2nd off the layoff. Asmussen has been pointing him to this race as he shipped the colt in right after the last win for three works over the track and getting Jose Ortiz (2nd in the jockey race for 2018 and just behind his brother  Irad Ortiz, Jr.) the colt would be no surprise if winning this race.

    McKinzie and Kanthaka are very likely to go to post as the first and second betting choices here based on their performances in graded stakes this year and both can win or be part of the exacta but they are not standouts. McKinzie moves back to three year olds only after finishing 12th of 14 in the Breeders' Cup Classic. He won the San Felipe Stakes over the track in March with a 118 figure then had issues and was off for nine months, returning to win the Pennsylvania Derby. The 114 figure in the PA Derby was fine and he broke his maiden at this distance. He's been working fine but this year's Malibu drew a very strong field compared to what he faced in the PA Derby and he has his work cut out for him although he could be up to the task and that's why I'm not completely taking a stand against him. Kanthaka is a ONE-TURN horse, proven by winning the San Vicente Stakes over the track at the distance in February with a 113 figure, then by running not nearly as well around two turns in the San Felipe and Blue Grass, then by winning the Barrera Stakes in May when turned back to this trip. Rested since then, he's working like he can pick up where he left off and must be respected as a contender as well.

    Bets: Bobby's Wicked One to win and place at 7 to 2 or more.

    Copper Bullet to win at 7 to 2 odder or more.

     

    When making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

    Exactas:

    Copper Bullet and Bobby's Wicked One

    Copper Bullet, Bobby's Wicked One, Kanthaka and McKinzieCopper Bullet, Bobby's Wicked One, Kanthaka, McKinzie, Axelrod and Nero

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  • 14
    DEC

    Key Races & Bets for Saturday, December 15

    Race 7 at Gulfstream - Post Time 3:03 PM Eastern

    Gran Causeway will likely go to post favored depending on how heavily bet the two Pletcher first time starters (Bebeau and French Revolution) get, BUT Thetrashmanscoming is the best bet (to win at least) of four contenders to win this race. Thetrashmanscoming is finally coming around after running his best race yet last month in his fifth career start. At the same one-turn mile trip as today's race, he broke slowly, REALLY slowly, to be last of 12 and 17 lengths back, but by the end he was third and moving nicely. He is bred exceptionally well as six of the other seven foals of his dam broke their maidens in straight maiden races on dirt like this one and the 88 last race Equibase figure is the best in the field so if he improves upon it he can post the mild upset, opening at 10/1. Gran Causeway ran on from 11 lengths back early when 5th to get second at the end into a five length winner and can improve, but will need to as the effort earned only a 66 figure. The other two foals of his dam have run well, with 7 wins and 7 runner-up finishes in 26 races. There's nothing special to report about the Pletcher pair but Todd continues to win with 25% of his first time starters in straight maiden races at Gulfstream so they are mostly ready to run and spotted right.

     

    Bets: Thetrashmanscoming to win at 3 to 1 or more, adding a place bet at 5 to 1 or more.

     

    Double (Races 7 and 8) and Pick 3 (Races 7, 8 and 9):

    Race 7 – Thetrashmanscoming, Gran Causeway, Bebeau, French Revolution

    Race 8 – Electric Forest, Tweeting

    Race 9 – Bellavais, La Moneda

     

    Rampart Stakes – Race 8 at Gulfstream Park - Post Time 3:38 PM Eastern

    Electric Forest can be any kind of filly sprinter as she makes her 2nd start after 6 1/2 months off to end her three year old campaign and began her four year old campaign. She won impressively first out in April then ran poorly before taking the six month break she returned from last month, repeating the 94 Equibase figure effort in a romp and with a lot of improving she can do here 2nd off the layoff for Brown, with Ortiz riding. We all know how Brown has had a career best year but looking at a subset of that, which applies to this filly, really tells a story. Moving horses up from allowance to stakes off a win in the last five years, Brown is 17 for 87 including a 6 for 19 record in the last 12 months.

     

    Tweeting was claimed for a pretty paltry 40K in April then sent to Casse at Woodbine where she finished 2nd in an all-weather route. Moved to Navarro for her next start, first on dirt in 14 months, she destroyed the field by 12 before leading late and coming up a half-length short on the wire in a little stakes at Laurel near the end of September. Given a couple more months off, if she runs as well as she did off the layoff in August she can win, given that effort earned her a 96 Equibase figure. However, as stated previously a lot will depend on how big a step forward Electric Forest takes off her comeback win last month.

     

    Bets: Electric Forest to win at 3 to 2 or more, a true low odds overlay.

    Double (Races 8 and 9), Pick 3 (Races 8, 9 and 10), Pick 4 (Races 8, 9, 10 and 11):

     

    Race 8 – Electric Forest, Tweeting

    Race 9 – Bellavais, La Moneda

    Race 10 – Awestruck, Stormy Embrace, Dream Pauline, Surprise Wedding

    Race 11 – Glorious Empire, Projected, Qurbaan, Hi Happy, Mr Havercamp

     

    My Charmer Stakes  - Race 9 at Gulfstream Park- Post Time 4:05 PM Eastern

    La Moneda shows up EVERY TIME, with four wins and a runner-up effort in her last five races, all on grass, the last two in stakes. Even though those last two were against statebred company in New York, the 105 and 107 Equibase figures are as good as any in here who have run well recently in "open" (not restricted) company. Those five "A" efforts all came when Morley was the named trainer, and the trainer saddled her to a win and a runner-up effort last year in two races under his care as well, so we can expect a top effort and I just hope her 5/1 starting odds hold up.

    Bellavais took 11 months off from November to October and returned in the Pletcher barn to win at a mile on grass at Belmont, in a decent classified allowance field. She was no slouch before that, with 3 wins in 10 career tries on turf and a stakes win so moving into this grade 3 level is no issue, particularly as Castellano (up for the first time last out) rides back and she gets the rail. Off the 11 month layoff, Bellavais earned a 105 figure and so with logical 2nd off the layoff physical improvement looming she is the other gal with the bulk of the probability to win this race.

    For exactas and trifectas I'll also use Conquest Hardcandy, possibly a lone front runner and a filly who has been first or second in six of 11 career turf races.

    Bets: La Moneda and Bellavais to win at odds of 2 to1 or more.

    When making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

    Exacta: La Moneda and Bellavais over La Moneda, Bellavais and Conquest Hardcandy.

    Trifectas (two tickets):

    La Moneda and Bellavais over La Moneda, Bellavais and Conquest Hardcandy over ALL.

    La Moneda and Bellavais over ALL over La Moneda, Bellavais and Conquest Hardcandy.

     

    Sugar Swirl Stakes - Race 10 at Gulfstream Park - Post Time 4:36 PM ET

    Stormy Embrace was completely over her head in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf Sprint last month but before that she was top notch, winning four of her six races this year including the tougher Grade 2 Princess Rooney Stakes in June over the track. That effort earned a 110 Equibase figure, no fluke as she had earned a 107 figure three months earlier winning a handicap at Tampa Bay Downs easily. She can win on the lead or from off the pace and is the one to beat.

    In spite of Stormy Embrace being the one to beat, Awestruck opens lower at 2/1 (compared to 3/1 for Stormy Embrace). I suppose it's because she finished a troubled second behind solid sprinter Vertical Oak in a stakes last month at Churchill but she wasn't going to beat the other filly in spite of traffic issues on the backstretch and the effort earned her a 99 figure, the third time this year she's earned that figure and it's not good enough to beat Stormy Embrace if she repeats her 6/30, 3/10 or 1/21 efforts in this situation. Just the same, Awestruck does have a shot if the top pick doesn't fire.

    Also worth a look, particularly for pick 3 and 4 tickets, are Dream Pauline and Surprise Wedding. Dream Pauline is a lightly raced filly with a two-for-three record. She was third and three lengths behind Awestruck in that stakes won by Vertical Oak last month but she had trouble as well. She earned a 96 figure winning before that and has a nice shot to step up and run a career best race today. Surprise Wedding gets Jose Ortiz and a good outside post as she moves back to dirt off an irrelevant try on turf. She won her last dirt start handily with a 99 figure and was a stakes winner (vs Florida breds only) a year ago so can't be ruled out opening at 8/1.

     

    Bets: Stormy Embrace to win at odds of 2 to 1 or more.

     

    Exacta: Stormy Embrace and Awestruck over Stormy Embrace, Awestruck, Dream Pauline and Surprise Wedding. For about half the above wager, play the reverse as well, which is Stormy Embrace, Awestruck, Dream Pauline and Surprise Wedding over Stormy Embrace and Awestruck.

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  • 07
    DEC

    Key Races & Bets for Saturday, December 8

    Race 4 at Aqueduct - Post Time 1:47 PM Eastern

    In a one-turn mile maiden race for New York breds, I'm going to take a shot with Overland, who opens at 10/1. When I see a horse in the top four in a previous race with a huge margin of defeat such as the 13 3/4 length margin behind the winner Overland was first time out, I take a quick look at the company line because once in a while that margin is deceiving if the winner or winner and runner-up dominated by many lengths. That is the case with Overland's debut on 10/20 at Belmont at the level, because the winner won by almost seven lengths and there was another four length gap to the third horse. In reality, Overland actually ran okay, passing horses from 10th to 4th over the course of the race. He's been gelded since then, gets a good outside post to stalk the pacesetters, and best of all the race has turned out to be a KEY RACE from which the 2nd and 3rd horses both came back from to win. Overland is the 4th foal of his dam and the other three all turned out very nicely as one was a first out winner and the other two won 2nd time out. Brad Cox is having a career best year and has won with 25% of over 100 2nd time starters in the past two years so there is a lot of improving this gelding can do.

     

    Bets: Overland to win at 3 to 1 or more, adding a place bet at 5 to 1 odds or higher.

     

    Double: Overland in Race 4 with Yorkiepoo Princess, Sower and Vertical Oak in Race 5.

     

    Optionally play Overland in Race 4 with ALL (five horses) in Race 5.

    Maryland Juvenile Futurity – Race 4 at Laurel - Post Time 2 PM Eastern

    Alwaysmining ran a "Breakout" kind of race in his most recent start on 10/27 at Laurel, dominating by 10 lengths. That was his first dirt start since changing trainers to Rubley and changing jockeys to Centeno and I feel strongly the same "go to the front and widen" tactics will be used here. That last race was a one-turn mile and this is seven furlongs so there are no issues regarding the distance and he may actually have a little more to give in the stretch running a furlong less.

     

    Our Braintrust is undefeated in two starts including the Tremont Stakes in June and therein lies the main concern. He won his debut on May 3 then the Tremont and something put him on the sidelines since then. He's worked very well and could come back running but may be tough to bet (to win at least) at low odds with the question of what happened this summer over his head. Scrap Copper ran badly just once, in the similar Maryland Millions Nursery Stakes, but we can completely draw a line through the race as he stumbled badly at the start. Otherwise, he's nearly perfect, with two wins and a nose defeat. Scrap Copper is working well, comes off a stakes win with a 91 figure three points better than the 88 Alwaysmining earned in recent win, and McCarthy rides him back. Scrap Copper is a strong contender but like Our Braintrust not nearly as good a win bet as he opens at 2 to 1 compared to 5/1 for Alwaysmining.

     

    V.I.P Ticket and Sky Magician just finished 2nd and 1st, respectively, in a maiden race run much more slowly than the most recent efforts of Alwaysmining and Our Braintrust as they Sky Magician earned a 79 figure, V.I.P. Ticket as 73 figure. However, two year olds can improve a lot from one race to the next so I will consider them for 2nd on exacta tickets and for 3rd on trifecta tickets.

     

    Bets: Alwaysmining to win at 2 to 1 or more, adding a place bet at 5 to 1 or higher.

    Exacta: Alwaysmining over Our Braintrust, Scrap Copper, V.I.P. Ticket and Sky Magician.

    Trifecta: Alwaysmining over Our Braintrust, Scrap Copper, V.I.P. Ticket and Sky Magician over Our Braintrust, Scrap Copper, V.I.P. Ticket and Sky Magician.

    Garland of Roses Stakes  - Race 5 at Aqueduct - Post Time 2:17 PM Eastern

    Sower is very likely to be the "lone front runner" in this short field and that gives her an edge. Winner of the similar Pumpkin Pie Stakes when last seen on 10/28, she was entered in the tougher Grade 3 Go For Wand Stakes last weekend then scratched to run here by Rice. Sower also won the Jersey Girl Stakes by almost five lengths in June. Rice has a very nice record with horses coming off a win over the past two years, winning nearly 25% of the time and with those starters finishing 1st or 2nd 46% of the time.

     

    Yorkiepoo Princess had a "breakout" effort last out on 11/25 over the track in the Autumn Days Stakes, dominating seven other horses by nearly six lengths. That was the margin of victory in her previous race and she improved to a career best 107 Equibase figure, as good as any winning figure earned by even money favorite Vertical Oak, who is running at Aqueduct for the first time with Cancel riding for the first time as well, making her tough to be to win as the prohibitive favorite. On the other hand, Yorkiepoo Princess opens at 5/1 and is very playable with a 2 for 3 career record over the track.

     

    Bets: Sower and Yorkiepoo Princess to win at odds of 2 to1 or more.

    When making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

    Howard and Sondra Bender Memorial Stakes - Race 7 at Laurel Park - Post Time 3:30 PM ET

    Rockinn On Bye opens at 7/2 even though he just beat the 8/5 morning line favorite Lewisfield when Rockinn On Bye was 2nd and Lewisfield 3rd in the Fabulous Strike Stakes last month. Lewisfield had no excuse for being out finished by Rockinn On Bye, who we can expect to run even better 2nd off the sharp claim by Gonzalez and sharp placement here as the horse moves from "open" (non-restricted) stakes to this stakes for Maryland breds or sired only. Carrasco, who wins nearly 1/3 of the time for the trainer, gets back on after getting familiar with the gelding, whose 100 last race figure is tied with Laki (out of a similar runner-up effort in a stakes) for the best last figure in the field. Rockinn On Bye may have three times as many runner-up finishes (21) as wins in his career but that could start to turn around in his new trainer's care.

    Lewisfield, Laki and Sonny Inspired all have a shot to run second behind the top pick.

    Bets: Rockinn On Bye to win at odds of 2 to 1 or more.

     

    Exacta: Rockinn On Bye over Lewisfield, Laki and Sonny Inspired.

    For about half the amount you play the above exacta, play the reverse, which is Lewisfield, Laki and Sonny Inspired over Rockinn On Bye.

     

    Trifecta: Rockinn On Bye over Lewisfield, Laki and Sonny Inspired over Lewisfield, Laki and Sonny Inspired.

     

    Los Alamitos Cash Call Futurity  - Race 5 at Los Alamitos - Post Time 5:28 PM Eastern

    Extra Hope took four races to finally break through but he did so in a big way when blinkers were added, coasting home to nearly a nine length win in October when trying the distance of the Cash Call Futurity for the first time. That effort earned a 101 Equibase Speed Figure, the best figure earned by any horse in the field. Cutting back to seven furlongs for the Bob Hope Stakes last month, Extra Hope ran pretty evenly around the track when fifth after a quarter mile and fourth at the wire, proving no match for winner Mucho Gusto and runner-up Savagery. However, the return to two-turns, particularly as only one other horse in the field (Dueling) has run two-turns on dirt, could signal a return to the form shown in October.  That effort is better than the rest of the field and as such if Extra Hope can repeat it, he should win.

     

    Dueling is the other horse to have won a two-turn race on dirt. He did so in his third career start, first route, at the end of September, earning a 100 figure in the process under jockey Mike Smith. Smith did not ride Dueling in his next start when a well beaten sixth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile but returns to the saddle for this race. Although the Juvenile and this Cash Call Futurity both carry a grade 1 ranking, this is an easier spot compared to the Juvenile. Dueling has a very nice chance to repeat, or improve upon, his route effort one before last and if he does either he would be very competitive in this field.

     

    Improbable and Mucho Gusto are saddled by Baffert, who continues to dominate this race. Baffert has trained the winner of this race four years in a row and, perhaps even more impressively, in seven of the last 10 editions of the race. Improbable broke his maiden at the end of September in his debut at the distance of six furlongs with a strong 94 figure then ventured to Kentucky to win the non-graded Street Sense Stakes by seven lengths with a 100 figure. Improbable is an improving type but is trying two-turns for the first time so is giving experience away to both Dueling and Extra Hope in that regard. Mucho Gusto won the Bob Hope Stakes last month with a 100 figure after a 96 figure effort in his debut. He made that improvement going from six furlongs to seven furlongs and can certainly improve once again, but like his stablemate, Mucho Gusto is trying two-turns for the first time. Of the pair, I might give a slight probability edge to Improbable based on his rail draw but overall both should be counted as contenders to win this race.

     

    Bets: Extra Hope to win at odds of 2 to 1 or higher. For a smaller amount, Dueling to win at odds of 3 to 1 or higher.

    Don't forget, when making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

    Exacta: Extra Hope and Dueling over Extra Hope, Dueling, Improbable and Mucho Gusto.

     

    Starlet Stakes  - Race 7 at Los Alamitos - Post Time 6:28 PM Eastern

    Oxy Lady might be four-for-four if not for a neck defeat first out in August and a head defeat one before last in October. She shipped from Kentucky to New York for the Grade 3 Tempted Stakes and added blinkers to post a career-best 96 Equibase figure and the 36 to 1 upset last month and has been working fantastically since. She ships from trainer Sisterson's Kentucky base to California and brings along jockey Cannon, up for her dominating win last month. Sisterson was a former O'Neill assistant before going out on his own and has many of the fine Calumet Farm runners like this filly by Oxbow who could be any kind and who has a big shot to post the mild upset, opening at 5/1 particularly as she has run two-turns twice, winning once, whereas the heavy favorite is trying two turns for the first time.

     

    Chasing Yesterday is that heavy favorite, with a 3 for 4 career record including two stakes wins, both in listed stakes and short fields of 5 and 3. She's a half-sister to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and much is expected of her but the hype is big and she will be the odds-on favorite again so offers no value for a win bet. On the other hand, besides Oxy Lady, Chasing Yesterday is really the only other horse with the bulk of the probability to win.

     

    Bets: Oxy Lady to win at odds of 2 to 1 or higher.

     

    Exacta: Oxy Lady and Chasing Yesterday over Oxy Lady, Chasing Yesterday, Vibrance, Mother Mother and Sold It.

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  • 30
    NOV

    Key Races & Bets for Saturday, December 1

    Remsen Stakes - Race 8 at Aqueduct - Post Time 3:12 PM Eastern

    Jungle Warrior, Network Effect and Maximus Mischief comprise the bulk of the probability to win this year's Remsen, but only one of the three is a good win bet and that is Jungle Warrior, who opens at 8/1 compared to 7/5 for Network Effect and 6/5 for Maximus Mischief. The key to those decent odds holding up is this colt is running on dirt for the first time after two turf races to start his career. He debuted in August with a big effort when rallying from last of 11 to win by a head then he ran okay when finishing 5th after being 12th early in the Grade 2 Natalma Stakes on the turf at a mile. He did improve his Equibase figure even though 5th in the Natalma, to 87, a far cry from the 99 to 106 figures the two favorites have earned in their four starts combined to date, BUT this colt could be a whole different horse not only on dirt but also now in the care of Jimmy Jerkens, who is having a banner year. Jose Ortiz getting on is the first sign the colt can do and although sire Animal Kingdom is known for turf and all-weather, the dam (Harissa) won 6 of 13 on dirt INCLUDING the Barbara Fritchie around one turn and the Sunland Park Oaks around two turns. With Maximus Mischief having earned both wins leading from start to finish and with Chinomado, Gladiator King and Tax all likely to  be close up early pushing the pacesetter, and PARTICULARLY with NONE having run this far, there is every reason to believe Jungle Warrior may be able to get a perfect trip and post the upset.

     

    For multi-race tickets like the pick 3 (with a recommendation below), I will use both Network Effect and Maximus Mischief. Network Effect should get a great trip like Jungle Warrior and although beaten nearly two lengths last out in the Nashua he was seven clear of the third horse in a big effort with a field high 106 Equibase Figure. Its possible Maximus Mischief clears early and never looks back and I like the stretch out from seven to nine furlongs but he did regress from a 102 debut figure to 99 and it was at Parx so he's got a few hurdles to overcome.

     

    Bets: Jungle Warrior to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more.

     

    Pick 3 (two tickets):

    Race 8 – Jungle Warrior, Network Effect and Maximus Mischief

    Race 9 – Sunny Ridge, Pat On the Back, Copper Town and Patternrecognition

    Race 10 – Quest for Fire

     

    Race 8 – Jungle Warrior

    Race 9 – ALL

    Race 10 – Quest for Fire

     

    Cigar Mile Handicap – Race 9 at Aqueduct - Post Time 3:45 PM Eastern

    Copper Town has tremendous upside and that's why he appears to have the highest probability to win this year's Cigar Mile Handicap. Making his career debut in a five and one-half furlong sprint in February 2017, Copper Town got the experience of a race out of the way then blew away his competition following six months off last September with a three and three-quarter length win in easy fashion. Bettering that effort less than one month later, Copper Town won by six lengths, beating favored Patternrecognition easily to earn a then career-best 103Equibase Speed Figure. Put on the sidelines after that race, Copper Town came back after a year off and ran as if he had never been away, easily winning by five lengths and earning a new career-best 108 figure. Todd Pletcher has had excellent success with back-to-back winners in dirt routes when the horse's last start was a sprint, as the STATS Race Lens statistic reveals a 15 for 50 (30%) win rate over the last two years in this situation.  With his two prior wins coming in one-turn route races like the Cigar Mile and with a lot of improving to do physically in his second start back from a year on the bench, Copper Town could put his name in the hat to be one of the premier handicap division horses for 2019 with a win in this race.

     

    Sunny Ridge entered the stretch one and one-half lengths behind Patternrecognition in the Kelso Handicap in September and crossed the wire one length behind so was no match for Patternrecognition that day. However, Patternrecognition was allowed to lead easily by a length from the start and to establish a steady rhythm, which is unlikely to happen in the Cigar because of Mendelssohn's predisposition to lead from the start. As it appears likely Mendelssohn will once again lead from the start, with Patternrecognition pressing the pacesetter in second, Sunny Ridge may be in a great stalking spot in third in the early stages, much like he was three races back in July when rallying to win the State Dinner Stakes by three lengths with a career-best 114 figure, an effort which if repeated here may help him to gain the upset win.

     

    Patternrecognition earned a 111 figure in the Kelso, which followed a career-best 113 figure effort in August following two months away. Patternrecognition shows up every time, as evidenced by a first or second place finish in nine of his 10 career races. Likely to be in the second position early if Mendelssohn goes to the lead as expected, Patternrecognition has the ability to take over before the other stalkers and closers get into high gear and therefore could win his second graded stakes race in a row.

     

    Pat On the Back has been very competitive versus NY Breds of late, winning two of his last four starts and losing by inches in the other two. The best of the four was a one-turn route like this race, on July 13, in which he earned a 113 figure which if repeated gives him a shot to be very competitive at high odds, opening at 15/1.

     

    Bets: Copper Town to win at 9 to 5 or higher. Sunny Ridge to win at 3 to 1 or higher. Patternrecognition at odds of 3 to 1 or more (although I don't anticipate him going post at those odds).

    Don't forget, when making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

    Exactas: Box Copper Town, Sunny Ridge and Pattern Recognition, then also box Copper Town, Sunny Ridge, Pat On The Back and Pattern Recognition

    Trifectas: Copper Town over Sunny Ridge, Pat On The Back and Pattern Recognition over ALL.

    "IF" the pick 3 bet started in race 8 is dead (meaning neither Jungle Warrior, Network Effect or Maximus Mischief won), then play a double of Sunny Ridge, Pat On the Back, Copper Town and Patternrecognition in Race 8 with Quest for Fire in Race 9.

     

    Race 10 at Aqueduct - Post Time 4:16 PM Eastern

    Quest for Fire has only run once, winning his debut in March over the track at six furlongs. He  fired big fresh that day and appears capable of firing fresh again to move through this first allowance level for NY Breds in a field of 12 with a good post and Franco (up for the debut) riding back for the strong Baker Barn.

    Wrong Ben is 4 for 11 but is still eligible for the level because although he broke his maiden at the same NY Bred straight maiden level as Quest For Fire, his other three wins came in claiming races. He does appear to be a need-the-lead type and there is other early speed in the race but he could be in the money at the least. Smokin Platinum lost by a nose and a head at the level over the track last month after breaking his maiden and is the other with a slight shot to win and a big shot to hit the board.

    Bets: Quest for Fire to win at odds of 8 to 5 or more. (Note: If alive in the pick 3 to Quest For Fire, a win bet may not be necessary).

    Trifecta: Quest for Fire over Wrong Ben and Smokin Platinum over ALL.

    Exacta (to cover Quest for Fire finishing second): Wrong Ben and Smokin Platinum over Quest For Fire.

    Hollywood Derby - Race 7 at Del Mar - Post Time 6:30 PM Eastern / 3:30 Pacific

    Raging Bull is one of two horses shipped from the east coast base of Chad Brown, the other being Instilled Regard who is trying turf for the first time and who is not a win contender in my opinion. Raging Bull brings along Joel Rosario, taking off a full day at Aqueduct where four graded stakes are being run, a big sign about how the jockey and his agent feel about this colt. Raging Bull won four of his first five races, all on turf, including the very similar Hall of Fame and Saranac Stakes this summer at Saratoga, in the latter finishing fast from 6th with a quarter mile to go and racing the last eighth of a mile in 11.5 seconds which is fast by any standards. He was beaten when a no-excuse fifth as the favorite in the Hill Prince Stakes two months ago but Brown didn't ship just for the San Diego weather and if the colt is back in his summer form he's going to be tough to beat.

    River Boyne is the top three year old turf star, having won both the La Jolla in August and the Twilight Derby last month. Like Raging Bull, River Boyne also ran poorly as the favorite in one of his last three races, this one when third in the Del Mar Derby in September. His best is good enough to be there at the wire but he's no standout.

    Have At It beat Raging Bull when victorious in the Hill Prince in October then shipped west and missed by a half-length to River Boyne in the Twilight Derby. Shipped back to trainer Clement's east coast base, Have At It is back in California and reunited with David Cohen, who was in the saddle for the Hill Prince win in his only start with the colt. Kazan ran poorly in the Twilight Derby but we can ignore the effort as the jockey lost the whip. He ran 2nd in the Del Mar Derby at 50/1 before that, finishing in front of River Boyne, and that may not have been a fluke as he won two in a row prior to that. Risky Proposition and Desert Stone round out the contenders for either win bets or inclusion on exacta tickets. Risky Proposition won the restricted Let It Ride stakes a few weeks back so has to improve to run as well at this grade 1 level BUT the win came over the course and the 113 figure is in range of the effort it's going to take to run competitively here. Desert Stone was a nose behind Have At It and another half-length shy of River Boyne in the Twilight derby and can't be ruled out with a similar effort.

     

    Bets: Raging Bull to win at odds of 8 to 5 or more. River Boyne to win at odds of 2 to 1 or more Have At It to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more.

     

    Don't forget, when making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

     

    Exactas: Have At It, Kazan, River Boyne and Raging Bull over Have At It, Kazan, River Boyne, Raging Bull, Risky Proposition and Desert Stone.

     

     

    Also turn that exacta above around as follows: Have At It, Kazan, River Boyne, Raging Bull, Risky Proposition and Desert Stone over Have At It, Kazan, River Boyne and Raging Bull.

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